Johannes Kepler Universität Linz (Linz, Austria)

The Institute for Biophysics at the Johannes Kepler University of Linz (JKU) consists of several groups working on AFM, single molecule and cell fluorescence, electrophysiology, molecular and cell biology, bioconjugate chemistry, and theory.

The institute includes about 100 members with 7 faculty and 6 permanent staff positions. 

The project will be carried out in the Applied Experimental Biophysics group, led by Prof. Dr. Peter Hinterdorfer. This unit has its core competence in the application and development of atomic force microscopy based methods in life science. Atomic force microcopy (AFM) techniques and modes, such as single molecule force spectroscopy, molecular recognition force microscopy, elasticity mapping, nanoscale topography with functional recognition imaging, combination of AFM with fluorescence microscopy, and high‑speed AFM are used to characterize molecular interactions in various biological systems (antibodies, cellular receptors and their ligands, molecular templates, transporters, viruses, membranes, cells, etc..), so as to quantify nano‑mechanical properties of biological samples (typically stiffness, Young’s modulus, deformability and adhesion), to perform receptors’ nanomapping on different surfaces including cell membranes, and to observe structural dynamics with sub-molecular and sub-second temporal resolution. The group has a strong background in surface chemistry necessary to turn AFM cantilever tips into smart probes needed for some of these techniques, as well as for sample preparation in general. Furthermore, AFM data evaluation and processing techniques are steadily developed and extended based on the newest theoretical knowledge in the field, ensuring state of the art functional and structural characterization on the nano-scale. The lab is equipped with 13 AFMs which is critical for the project that involves an extensive usage of these microscopes. Currently the group consists of about 30 members, in which more than half of them are female.

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